Aircrew Flight Equipment Airmen from the 154th and 15th Operations Support Squadrons examine the latest installments of equipment July 8, 2019 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Program managers from Write-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, introduced the integrated aircrew ensemble to the Airmen, which offers a spectrum of improvements over the currently used equipment. F-22 Raptor pilots from JBPH-H have been selected to be the first aviators to bring the ensemble into an operational capacity. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman John Linzmeier)

Air Force testing new flight suit developed at Wright-Patt

A team from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is behind a new flight suit that will be tested by F-22 pilots in Hawaii.

Wright-Patt personnel recently traveled to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to introduce fighter pilots and aircrew to the new Integrated Aircrew Ensemble, according to a press release.

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Visiting managers from Wright-Patt’s 711th Human Performance Wing demonstrated the new suits, conducted fittings and training for the Airmen of the Air National Guard at the joint base.

“Being selected as the first unit, and also as the Air National Guard, over any other (major command) is definitely something to be proud of, said Senior Master Sgt. Michelle Davidson, 154th Operations Support Squadron AFE superintendent. “I think it says something about our work ethic and our integrity down here; that we’re willing to take on the challenge and be a part of this new process.”

Although the new suits will require some new training for pilots and crew members, it will require less work than is needed to sustain current flight suits, according to the Air Force.

“Initially, I think the build-up process is going to be quite tedious,” Davidson said. “It’s a big task to take on, but I think once the supplies are delivered and we’re all set up, it’s going to be an amazing product for us to use.”

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Unlike the current suits, which had been added to with items over several decades, each component of the new ensemble was designed to complement everything else.

The suit is built to support crew and pilots in all ejection-seat aircraft and can be used by fighters, trainers and bomb carriers. The suit’s material was developed to allow aviators to endure harsh flight conditions and was made possible by some recent advancements in sports technology, according to the Air Force.

The suit contains four layers that can be used to support pilots encountering cold weather, water, heat, fire and chemical, biological and radiation threats.

“It’s all strategically placed so items are not on top of each other; it minimizes the occurrence of friction, hot spots or wear-down on the system,” said Carl Medeiros, program manager for the new suit. “When it all comes together, there’s a direct correlation and improvement to the physiological effects on the pilot.”


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